Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, Maribor in Champions League Group E
Now that the Champions League draw has been completed, here's a preview for Group E. Who do you think will go through?
Predicted finish1. Sevilla
It's been quite a year at Spartak -- 12 months ago they were dealing with the ignominy of being knocked out of the Europa League by AEK Larnaca, but after Dmitri Alenichev resigned and Massimo Carrera (formerly Antonio Conte's assistant at Juventus) took over, fortunes changed. They won the Russian Premier League for the first time in 16 years, and while they will be regarded as the weakest seeded side, their surprise performance last season shows they shouldn't be underestimated.
A club in something of a state of flux, it will be fascinating to see how Sevilla deal with the departures of both head coach Jorge Sampaoli (to Argentina) and sporting director Monchi (to Roma). Under new boss Eduardo Berizzo, most of the recruits to the squad -- Nolito, Jesus Navas, Ever Banega -- have a "second chance" feeling to them, but the good news is most of last term's key men remain.
The last time Liverpool were in the Champions League they limped out in the first round, at least partly after Brendan Rodgers rested key men for the big away trip to Real Madrid. You don't suspect Jurgen Klopp will be quite so flippant this time, and the good news for Liverpool fans is that by the time their group games come around this term, peace may have been made with Philippe Coutinho. Given the lack of creativity elsewhere in the team, they need him.
FK Maribor manager Darko Milanic lasted just 32 days in charge of Leeds United, in 2014: admittedly, under Massimo Cellino that's not the most surprising thing, and he will no doubt feel more at home after returning to Maribor, where he's won five league titles. This is the third time in their history the Slovenian club have reached the Champions League group stages, after doing so in 1999 and 2014. They'll face an uphill task to compete this time.
Game of the group
Liverpool v Sevilla -- It will probably be the doubleheader that decides the group -- and Liverpool have a score to settle after losing the 2016 Europa League final to the Spanish side. The famed European atmosphere at Anfield is no myth and this has the potential to be one of the group stage's most entertaining ties.
Philippe Coutinho -- Liverpool have a week left to keep hold of Philippe Coutinho; doing so would ensure they retain a talent capable of deciding games against Europe's best, but should the Brazilian depart then Sevilla may well sense an advantage in the race for top spot.
Nick Ames is a football journalist who writes for ESPN FC on a range of topics. Twitter: @NickAmes82.